"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Links - 19th September 2018 (1)

OK, Abolish ICE. What Then? - "“The call to abolish ICE is, above all, a demand for the Democratic Party to begin seriously resisting an unbridled white-supremacist surveillance state that it had a hand in creating,” McElwee explained in The Nation in April. He called on progressives to “demand that deportation be taken not as the norm but rather as a disturbing indicator of authoritarianism.”... You get rid of ICE, you’re going to have a country that you’re going to be afraid to walk out of your house.” He also predicted that calls to abolish ICE would harm Democrats’ electoral chances in the November midterms, a possibility that some Democrats also feared. (One recent poll found that 54 percent of Americans support keeping the agency intact.) Concerns about abolishing ICE, both as a political strategy and a practical effort, extended beyond Republicans. Eric Holder, an attorney general for President Barack Obama, described the push as a “gift to Republicans.”... While immigration enforcement receives the most attention, it only accounts for a third of ICE’s budget, according to Saldana. “If you do abolish ICE, you’re abolishing the United States’ representation in immigration court, you’re abolishing the extraordinary work that investigative agents do on the Homeland Security Investigations side,” she said. “That’s the half of ICE that does investigative work, which is human trafficking, child exploitation, international crime, military-arms proliferation—all of that is under ICE.”"
If you oppose open borders you must be a white supremacist and authoritarian

The Sexual Revolution of 'Dungeons & Dragons' - "A newly released supplementary book, Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes, even gives players the chance to play gender-fluid elves who worship a hermaphroditic elf god named Corellon Larethian. “It’s not just to show that they’re androgynous,” says Crawford. “These are elves who can magically decide whether they want to be male, or female, or neither each day. They are the blessed, viewed as modeling their god.” So not only is D&D encouraging players to create characters of all different types of sexual identity. It’s actually crafted a framework for them to do it. Being queer and gender-fluid is celebrated. You’re not an outcast on the fringes of the gender binary. You’re a hero blessed by a god... While never explicitly condemning women or LGBT individuals from playing, Gygax didn’t encourage it either. Early rules even specified that female characters had to be weaker than their male counterparts. That makes sense when you consider how gamers of this era were synonymous with outcasts and losers. They were proto-incels, if you will"
The cancer spreads

Canada’s new prostitution laws may not make sex work safer: research - "When Canada decided to tackle prostitution by adopting “end demand” laws, it was supposed to make sex work safer and healthier. But precisely the opposite has happened, according to new research presented at the International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam... Researchers from both Canada and France found that prosecuting men who buy sex instead of sex workers – known as the the Nordic model, or “end demand” approach – actually made life worse for sex workers by pushing the trade further into the shadows, making it more difficult to negotiate prices and condom use, and making it less likely that workers would access health services. “We still have a criminalization approach, all we’ve done is shift the target to the client,” said Elena Argento, a research associate with the Gender & Sexual Health Initiative of the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS. “This has made things worse, not better, for sex workers.”... “It doesn’t matter who you criminalize, it creates stigma.”... Ms. Argento said the fundamental flaw of “end demand” laws is they assume sex workers are victims and “conflate sex work with trafficking.” “Full decriminalization of sex work is critical to protecting the health and safety of sex workers,” she said. Influential organizations such as Amnesty International and UNAIDS also endorse decriminalization, saying it’s the best way to ensure the labour rights and human rights of sex workers are respected. However, New Zealand is the only country that has done so, making sex work and street solicitation legal in 2003."
When the intent is to make a moral stance, you don't care about the consequences. That is why feminism as a policy imperative is disastrous

Explosion In Sex Dolls Threatens Japanese Race With "Extinction" - "Taking it one step further are the "soshoku danshi," which translates to "grass-eating men" or "herbivore men" - a term coined by Japanese columnist Maki Fukasawa who describes these particular isolationists as having a "monk-like approach to life and relationships," which of course includes no sex.
Studies in Japan estimate that this class of men, normally in their 20s and 30s, account for around 60 per cent to 70 per cent of the male population...
If the nation drops birth policies now, says Whyte, “China will learn what many other countries have learned—that it is much more difficult to get people to have more babies” than to force them to stop having them."

The retiree behind the roof garden that brought back a kampung spirit - "
A unique signboard captures the open-hearted spirit that flourishes here. "Pick our herbs and spices for free," it invites everyone, even those who did none of the gardening."

Reality Show Fame Is More Lucrative Than an Oxford or Cambridge Education - "Contestants on British reality TV show Love Island out-earn graduates from the U.K.’s most prestigious universities... On average, those arriving at the Mediterranean villa in search of love, fame or fortune can expect to earn 1.1 million pounds ($1.4 million), outstripping the projected financial benefits of studying at either the University of Oxford or its counterpart in Cambridge, Frontier said. Oxbridge graduates are likely to earn about 815,000 pounds more over their lifetime than someone who does not attend university... more Britons applied to appear on the show than to study at Oxford and Cambridge, which top the Times Higher Education world university rankings.. Factoring in the debt accrued by those studying at university in the U.K., which the Institute for Fiscal Studies estimates at average of 50,000 pounds, widens the disparity still further."

Personal shame, stigma and doing good: Incoming president of the National Council of Social Service Anita Fam goes On the Record - "“It’s so important to tell your kids that they are adopted,” says Ms Fam. “If they find out one day in a way they never expected to, it could be the most devastating thing. They need to be told that they were intentionally sought out and wanted by their adoptive parents. Then, one feels special because you’re being chosen as opposed to in another situation, where they might think about it in terms of having been given up by their biological parent.”... "many people have to have jobs to look after their families to support themselves and if you pay them very little, how are they going to live? And if the private sector is much more attractive, why would competent, qualified people come here? “If you have good quality people who are far more effective in the way they design their programmes, their service deliveries which are far more appropriate to the beneficiaries, you probably can do things in a shorter period of time, more efficiently. It’s actually a cost-benefit approach that we are looking at.""

Minnesota boys sue to join girls high school dance teams - "Two teenage boys sued the Minnesota State High School League on Wednesday, alleging it maintains unconstitutional rules that bar boys from joining girls' competitive high school dance teams... The suit argues the rules violate Title IX, the federal law that bars sex discrimination in education programs that receive federal funds."
Of course they could always rewrite Title IX to ban anti-female 'discrimination' only

Tai Sang shows how an octogenarian, single-branch bank can stop time and defy technology - "Total deposits from customers at the end of 2017 stood at HK$1 billion and total customer loans amounted to HK$168 million – not even enough to buy some of the more expensive properties in Hong Kong."

SMRT Feedback tracks down Person of Interest in Singhealth hack - "a command was made to delegate access control of Singhealth’s database named “SHHQ” from a senior officer in Singhealth to an employee of an IT Contractor. The IT contractor in the log is shown to be CTC Global Pte Ltd which is based in Singapore and a wholly-owned subsidiary of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation, a Japanese technology firm. The employee is an outsourced IT Analyst based in Chennai, India."
Cost savings from outsourcing...

SMRT Feedback releases new evidence showing database queries targeting hospital VIPs - "while 1.5 million Singaporeans were illegally accessed and copied, the golden nugget is actually the VIPs and VVIPs receiving medical treatment in Singapore."

Has generation snowflake infiltrated Hong Kong’s mighty police force? - "“Criminals are not necessarily all bad guys – there are many objective factors behind a crime or reasons to be sympathetic. Likewise, not each and every cop is a good guy.” It was enough to cause deep offence among the sensitive souls tasked with protecting this city, and they fired off a letter of complaint and condemnation to the hapless minister."

Italy: Minister shows Mafia stance with swim in seized pool - "Italy’s interior minister has demonstrated his anti-Mafia priorities by diving into a swimming pool at a Tuscan villa that was confiscated from a mobster. Matteo Salvini then swam a lap in the pool as journalists watched... Referring to stripping mobsters of illicitly acquired wealth, Salvini said: “We must leave these gentlemen in their underwear.”"

BBC World Service - The Food Chain, Madhur Jaffrey: My Life in Five Dishes - "I started writing my cookbooks in the early 80s. The BBC actually hired me to do these programs, and they were considered educational programs. Nobody thought anybody was going to really cook with them, and I think they printed 30,000 books to begin with, not thinking they'd sell but they were gone after the first program. All those books were gone, so they realized that they had a population that was hungering for Indian food and they were making it themselves. There would be reports that all Manchester ran out of green coriander after I had made chicken with green coriander"

Podcast: Sherlock Forest and the Robin Hood myth - History Extra - "If you're gonna go hunting, you need more than just forest. In fact, forests in terms of woodland as we think about it, they're not great for hunting, you think low branches, you're riding, chasing a deer. you're just gonna go slap bang. So you need heathland, you need moorland, you need scrubland, you mean trees"

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, The Emancipation of the Serfs - "The origins of serfdom lay in a process that took best part of 200 years really between the 15th and the 17th centuries, mid 15 and mid 17th centuries. And the logic there was driven partly by the need of the state to placate particular interest groups, because that 200 year period was a period of Muscovite territorial expansion. And so in a free market, the price of labor would have gone up and indeed it did go up. And the logical consequence of that was that peasants started running away from lords who couldn't pay them, to lords who could pay them more. And that was a problem for the state because the state needed the middle ranking landlords to officer the cavalry. And in order to officer the cavalry of course, they needed some labor force at home. So the idea was to restrict peasant movement in order to keep peasants tied to the middle ranking cavalry officers...
[On emancipation] We're talking millions of people, nothing like that had ever been attempted before. There were no precedents and no one had any conception of what the consequences might be. Catherine raised the issue, but it was made very clear to her by the nobles that her throne depended on leaving it well alone...
They weren't allowed to move... legal authority of them was transferred from the landlord to the commune, to the community, and they were all responsible for each other so people just couldn't take off. They still had to pay taxes. The community still had to pay all their due. They had to serve in the army. So in a sense, the bondage was transferred from the landlord to the commune. And that remained the same up until really after the 1905 Revolution...the landlord couldn't flog us anymore... exercise that power over us in the way that he had exercised the power of a slave owner if he chose to exercise it over them, that was gone. And that was indisputable change brought about by the emancipation. What they lost was access to woods, forests, meadows, which had been an integral part of their economy, and they now had to pay for that, which they were furious about because they thought this is ours...
This was a big psychological bow to the nobility. It had been the striking definition of nobility that you were allowed, and only nobles were allowed to own serfs"

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, Echolocation - "This is actually a nice experiment that you can do at home is you can demonstrate your moth defense mechanisms. All you need is a bunch of keys. Keys produce a lot of ultrasound when you dangle them and if you have an outside light that you have moths gathering around... you sneak up on your moth with a bunch of keys very, very carefully and then you take your keys and you jangle them very violently and what you'll see the moth doing is it will do a whole series of loops and dives, it might fly from the opposite direction. And sometimes they even just drop to the ground, and hide up in the grass...
What the horseshoe bats are doing is they lower the frequency of the call from call to call, in relation to the speed that they're flying so they're compensating for the Doppler Shift incurred by their flight speed. This means that the call they send out and the echo that they receive are on different frequencies, so they don't have this problem with self-deafening. They're separating the pulse and the echo in frequency rather than in time...
We kind of have this idea that echolocation somehow is difficult. Flight we know has evolved multiple times. Lots of animals climb up trees and chuck themselves out and glide. So the evolution to powered flight is probably not that difficult, but somehow the idea that echolocation is this Holy Grail, but we all echolocate to some extent, we perceive the space around us by the reflection of our own echoes. So you put somebody into an echo chamber that absorbs all sound around... really disorientating experience. Because everything, even the rustling of your clothing, you can't pick up the echoes. You have no idea how big the spaces is. Whereas you walk down a corridor, you pick up the sound of your own feet, your clothes, rustling. You know how big that space is. So all human beings will echolocate to some extent...
People have recently analyzed the sound clicks that echolocating humans make... Daniel Kish in America who rides bikes by using echolocation, et cetera, and the clicks that these humans are producing are round about three miliseconds long, which is about the same duration as are the calls of bats... ... the humans using these clicks are actually using the visual cortex in the brain, which we use to understand the world by sight to process the echoes. In the bats it's the auditory cortex"
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